New year resolution

As we edge closer and closer to January 1st, many people begin the annual process of deciding on their New Year’s resolutions – changes that they want to make to improve their lives, health and experiences in the coming year.  It’s completely natural – a new year seems like a great opportunity to sweep out old, bad habits and remake ourselves anew.  It’s startling, then, to note that most New Year’s resolutions fail.

            Some of the most common New Year’s resolutions that Americans make include losing weight; exercising more; quitting smoking; spending more time with one’s family; and reading more.  Do any of these sound familiar? To most of us, they probably do.  Yet recent studies have shown that as few as 8% (8%!!) of New Year’s resolutions are actually successful.  Moreover, the older we get, the less we tend to adhere to our resolutions.  Why is this, given that we start out with such strong, good intentions?

            Here are a few ideas and suggested solutions:

  • Failure to Make a Plan: While many of us make grandiose statements about (just for example!) our pledge to lose weight and get in shape (frequently while we are stuffing ourselves with spinach dip at yet another holiday party). But often, the declaration of intent to change is not backed up with adequate planning or knowledge.  A serious weight loss or fitness plan should always be preceded by a visit to your doctor to establish or review your health needs and goals.  Deciding that you are only going to eat grapefruit from now on is not a sustainable idea and doesn’t really amount to a plan.  Your doctor, a nutritionist and a fitness professional are all people who can help you decide if you are healthy enough to join a gym, what type of workouts you should try to start out, and what your nutritional needs are.  Arming yourself with knowledge and a plan will help you stay on track during those dark January days when you just want to stay in bed an extra hour!


  • Why Did I Make This Resolution in the First Place?  Sometimes, we make resolutions that sound very smart at the time.  “I’m going to read all of Henry James’s novels,  back to back, in 2013!” you might declare after one too many Hallmark holiday films and bad reality TV shows.  Such a sweeping idea might sound appealing at the time it occurs to you, and you might feel like you are doing the “right” thing.  What better than enriching your mind with literature?  But plowing your way through The Golden Bowl right after finishing The Portrait of a Lady is a tall order for some of us.  And when you’re feeling guilty in March about avoiding that pile of ponderous novels on the nightstand, you might begin to wonder what possessed you to start in the first place.  One solution?  Smaller goals.  If you’re not usually a big reader, decide to read one James novel to start, for example, not all of them at once.  If you hate it, choose another book.  Consider asking some friends to join you for a regular book group to discuss what you’ve read and come to appreciate it on a deeper level.  Life is too short to torture yourself with a failed resolution when the reasons behind it (holiday schmaltz overload) have changed. 


  • No Strong Support Network for My Resolution: Some resolutions are very worthy but also very difficult.  Hopefully you don’t smoke, and if you do, you are planning to quit!  But if you have tried to quit before, you’ll know that it’s a very difficult process, and hard to achieve in a vacuum.  What might help? Again, definitely a visit to your doctor, who can discuss various plans with you.  Also, sharing what you’re going through with others who have had a similar experience can be very beneficial, especially on those days when you feel like quitting is just too tall an order.   A support network is key in making life-changing decisions and following through on them.


Finally, here is one New Year’s resolution that is easy to accomplish and congratulate yourself for!  Completing your estate plan (you knew it was coming!).  First of all, you already know how important a properly executed estate plan is – and that won’t change.  Drafting a plan that is specifically tailored to you and your family’s needs is one decision you will never later question – you will only feel the peace of mind that comes from protecting your loved ones.  Second, our team at Legacy Law Center will provide you with the solid framework you need to make decisions about your planning and discuss those decisions with you in detail; in fact, we will guide you through the entire process.  Thus, we can keep you on track to complete your plan in a timely matter and offer our tireless support that will allow you to make the best decisions for your life. 

Happy New Year!